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Authorities probe asphyxiation of Rep. Dan Frankel's father at Pittsburgh nursing home

Ben Schmitt
| Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, 2:18 p.m.
Robert Frankel
Robert Frankel

Authorities are investigating the accidental death of the father of State Rep. Dan Frankel at a Squirrel Hill nursing home, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office said Tuesday.

Robert Frankel, 89, died of asphyxiation in an accidental manner at the Charles M. Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Squirrel Hill, according to the medical examiner's office.

Dan Frankel, a Democrat, declined to comment Tuesday through his chief of staff.

His father died at 11:42 p.m. Sunday inside the nursing home, the medical examiner said.

Frankel's death was described Tuesday by the medical examiner as “asphyxia due to compression of the neck.” The manner of death was described as “accident.”

Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said investigators will consult with the medical examiner and Allegheny County District Attorney's Office “to determine the next steps.”

The nursing home is on the campus of the Jewish Association on Aging on JHF Drive in Squirrel Hill.

Officials there did not comment on details but released a statement Tuesday.

“The Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center extends our deepest condolences to the Frankel family on their loss, one felt by our entire staff as well,” said Phil Ricci, the nursing home's administrator. “The well-being of both our residents and their families has always been — and always will be — our top priority. We continue to respect the privacy of the Frankel family at this time as they mourn the death of their husband, father and grandfather.”

According to its website: “The Morris Center is staffed 24 hours a day by a team of devoted, professional registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse's aides. The excellent care they provide to residents is what distinguishes the Morris Center among nursing homes of comparable size in this region.”

An obituary said he once served as chairman of the National Foundation of Jewish Culture and the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

A funeral is scheduled for noon Wednesday at Rodef Shalom Temple, 4905 Fifth Ave.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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